Koh Rong Sanleom was our next destination. It is one of the Islands off the coast of Cambodia, we had booked 3 nights in a place right on the beach on the far side of the island, away from the more touristy area. As it was low season, the ferry didn’t venture to this side of the island so we knew we were in for a bit of a walk. What we didn’t know was that the walk was would comprise of 30 minutes along the beach followed by 45 minutes through the jungle. We later discovered that visitors are encouraged to leave the majority of their luggage at a dive shop near the ferry terminal – you live and you learn.
We trudged through the walk along the beach, through rivers, up and down steep slopes, I managed to stay on my feet until the last 10 minutes when my foot slipped on a rock and the weight of my back saw me land in a patch of mud. Tired, we reached our destination, breaking through the trees onto a beautiful sandy beach at sunset, suddenly it all seemed worth it.
Our hosts kindly welcomed us with a drink and carrying our bags the last 3 meters to our room. Although we had booked a dorm room, we were the only guests so we had the whole building to ourselves. The accommodation was incredible, with the whole structure made from bamboo. After settling in we enjoyed a walk along the beach followed by dinner and an early night.
We had planned a 3-night stay which was lucky because the next day although the weather started out well it quickly reminded us that it was still monsoon season 😉 so most of the afternoon was spent reading and snoozing undercover, looking out over the ocean as it stormed away. Our final day was a blessing, we awoke to beautiful bright blue sky and not a cloud in sight. Amongst the swimming, reading and snoozing, at one point I was enjoying a relaxing moment without a care in the world when all of a sudden I felt some drops. Initially I thought rain but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, I heard Andy shouting and I sprung up to realise that the “rain drops” where actually the local dog who decided to mark his territory all over my head. Luckily my hat took the brunt of it! Straight into the ocean for me ☹
We enjoyed a nice meal for our final night and planned our early departure back through the jungle to catch the first boat back to the main land.
The morning walk and boat trip went smoothly and we made it back to the mainland with enough time to make it to our meeting point for the boat. Our next destination was another much smaller island called Koh Ta Kiev, to reach our booked accommodation we had to meet at a restaurant on the beach about a 15 min drive from the ferry port, where we arrived and joined a girl who was also staying with us. We were driven 45 mins to meet our boat, we had to wade out a few meters into the sea to reach it so it was a good job we were wearing shorts. The boat ride was bumpy but interesting as we passed the Cambodian Navy base and saw what we assume to be their entire fleet (5 small ships or so), we also passed a floating fishing village built out to sea before arriving at our beach. We jumped off and checked in, at this point the girl with us was glad for our company, as we were the only people staying there other than the staff.
We checking into our very basic accommodation and grabbed some lunch from the bar. There isn’t much to do on Koh Ta Kiev except relax, swim and drink.
The barman introduced us to a promotion they had on, at three o’clock everyday if you buy one can of 6% Klang beer you get to drink as many as you can finish within the next 30 minutes, appropriately named the Klang 30. From our point of view this was a brilliant promotion and we decided to get our money’s worth. I think the plan is that when it was over we would go on to buy shots and spend more money, but we refused to waste our money and as the barman was drunk and bored he gave them to us for free anyway. The day quickly became the night and after a few more beers and the locals coming to join, I started learning the art of Khmer fighting. A local who used to get paid to fight was teaching me how to block and punch. When the fun and games where over we enjoyed a night time swim to cool off before heading to bed.
The next morning we decided not to repeat the Klang 30 but instead to head out for a walk across the island to the fishing village, we had been told we could get really good fresh seafood there. The walk was not easy as most of the paths had flooded meaning we were wading through knee high water for parts of it, although it did add to the charm.
When we arrived at the fishing village we were welcomed by a young girl asking if we wanted nom-nom. We agreed and were sat down in their front room given drinks and then shown some raw prawns, we nodded and then awaited our lunch. We were not disappointed as the prawns, the sauce and the rice were lovely.
We spent a bit of time wandering around the village and were shocked at how much rubbish people are happy to live with. This is a theme we have noticed in Cambodia.
The next morning we decided to depart the island as we had experienced most of what it had to offer so we jumped on the boat back to the mainland. When we arrived back in town we attempted to get a bus to our next stop, Koh Kong. Unfortunately there was one bus a day and it had already left so we found ourselves a bed for the night and explored the limited nightlife that Sihanoukville had to offer. Sihanoukville is a horrible town that has essentially been sold to some not very nice people in China who are building countless casinos (possibly to act as launderettes for their Yuan). The next morning we were up early and on our way to Koh Kong, the gateway to the Cardamon mountains.